Today, Reporters Without Borders released their annual Press Freedom Index, a leading assessment of how well countries are living up to principles of transparency and media freedom. It had nothing but bad news for the U.S., which dropped precipitously in the rankings to 47th place.
There were many changes in the rankings, reflecting the impacts and reactions to the democracy movements that circled the globe. Some countries did significantly better in press freedom, and some did significantly worse.
Some examples of the change wrought by the Arab Spring could be found in Tunisia, which the compilers moved up 30 places on the list in the wake of that country’s democratic revolution. Not so lucky were Bahrain and Egypt, both of which cracked down on journalists and on the popular movements pressing for further change in their countries. They fell 29 and 39 places, respectively, on the scale.
But the U.S. tumbled almost as far as Bahrain did in the wake of the repeated crackdowns on journalists covering Occupy movements.
And just to be clear, the Reporters Without Borders press release was explicit:
The United States (47th) also owed its fall of 27 places to the many arrests of journalist covering Occupy Wall Street protests.